[Skip to Navigation]
September 11, 1987

Conflict of Interest and the Peer Review Process

JAMA. 1987;258(10):1375. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400100109032

As it is generally used, the term conflict of interest applies to public officials and means that there is a clash between one's sworn duty to the public interest and one's private financial interest.1 In recent years, the term has been extended to apply to investigators who report studies in medical journals,2 and disclosure of possible financial gain by the authors of such studies is now editorial policy for some journals.2,3The Journal, for example, requests that each author of a submitted manuscript "list all affiliations with or financial involvement in any organization or entity with a direct financial interest in the subject matter or materials of the research discussed in the manuscript (eg, employment, consultancies, and stock ownership)."3 During The Journal's review process, all such disclosures are held in confidence by the editors and do not enter into decisions concerning the merits of the